Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Last Days At Shea - Part 1 - Photo Day At Shea

The first anniversary of Shea Stadium's final game is upon us. So it's time to write about my last days at Shea. And I don't mean to infringe upon the title of the new book "The Last Days At Shea" by fellow blogger Dana Brand (which you can buy from linked to on the right half of this blog). This is my story.

I start with a less exciting game. Actually games. I was at Shea's final doubleheader, a "regular" doubleheader to boot (as opposed to those greedy day-night doubleheaders). The story starts back in August when I got a new digital camera (I had one already, but after almost 5 years, they've improved in quality to the point where pictures look good). I decided that I wanted to have a day to spend at Shea to say goodbye. Walk around the park, poping out from different sections in different levels, taking pictures, and just looking around. It was easiest for me to find a weekend game, and there was a 4:05pm game against the Braves in September, so I didn't have to be up early in the morning and I could get some nighttime photos after the game with the neon signs illuminated (and yet not have to rush back to make the last train back to NJ). Anyway, 4:05pm game, timing worked out. Until it rained the day before and the Friday game was cancelled (acutally, there were 6 games postponed on Friday including in both NY stadiums). That led to 21 games being played on Saturday (with 5 doubleheaders played and one postponed). I saw 2 games on the single, cheap, back row Mezzanine ticket I had for Saturday. Good. 2 games to spend walking around Shea taking pictures. I get both daytime and nighttime photos. Perfect.

The games, for as much as I saw (and listened to on the radio), were somewhat of a microcasm of the 2008 Mets season, especially in the first game. Santana pitched for national TV, the Mets had a lead in the 8th, Santana left the game ahead 2-0, and 2 pitchers later in the 8th, the Mets were down 3-2. Jon Niese pitched and won in the 2nd game going 8 strong innings and the Mets won 5-0 in front of about 10,000 fans left in the ballpark.

It was also my first glimpse of the MeiGray Shea catalog (which at the time seemed like picking out the items in Grandma's house that you wanted to take before she was put in the old folk's home). Some sort of pre-sale and preview of items. Enough about them for now, other than to say cataloging the items must have like being a kid in the candy store.

I think walking around the inner ramps of Shea was like walking a condemmed man down the Green Mile. It was a last look, somewhat captured on (digital) film, from just about every part of Shea. One thing in particular I wanted then, that I was thinking about this week reading some posts from other Mets blogs, was getting what I call "empty Shea", where I can see the broadness of the seating bowl and its different levels in their full colorful glory before the fans in their various colored jerseys filled in the seats. When I think about Shea, I want to remember the colors. Citi Field makes those memories even more colorful.

In the end, I walked the concourses on each level, I got out to see the field from different angles (just to have fresh pictures of what that all looked like), and I even got what I call my "postcard" shot from the last row in the Upper Deck looking out to the entire field. I got everywhere except to the outfield bleacher seats. At the time, I still hadn't been there. That was going to change.

This is a very small sampling of photos from that doubleheader day, as well as the final two games.

Photo Day at Shea | The Santana Game | Shea Goodbye | In My Life

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